Cheesy Greek-Style Baked Quinoa
FYI – I’m back on my quinoa kick.
It just feels right, ya know? It fits in perfectly with my “let’s get back to the gym!” initiative, the “I’m going to be organized in 2014!’ pipedream, and my personal favorite – the “I’m not having alcohol in January” completely insane resolution.
Yes… I’m sober you guys. Pray for me.
I suppose I figured January is already a pretty crappy month, so why not make it worse by taking away my precious wine? Without parties or hangovers I’ll have time to do other productive things, I guess. Like getting ahead on my recipe schedule. And turning into a fitness model! And finally finding out what the hell is crammed under my bed!
Or… maybe I’ll just watch a lot of Netflix. Le sigh.
In all seriousness, I’m actually kind of stoked about this experiment. I’ve got a ton of wedding planning to do (9 months to go!), lord knows I need to save money, and I’m curious to see how my complexion improves sans booze. So since this is a cleanse of sorts, I figured I’d up my healthy eating game and really maximize my results. But while I might be able to tone down on the pasta and potatoes, I still need me some carbs. Quinoa fills that void perfectly, so there’s that. But then there’s the issue of cheese, which a girrrl cannot live without. I refuse, okay? I REFUSE.
Me & Cheese Forevvvaaaa.
So anyway, this baked quinoa. I wanted to create a Greek-style dish because Greek food is just so fresh and crisp and Summer-y, aka the complete opposite of this brutal winter weather. And obviously I had to make things mega cheesy, because my love of fromage cannot be contained. Which means this might be the most feel-good dish ever, because it’s healthy and lean and delicious and CHEESE.
So. Much. Cheese.
This is a pretty little dish, isn’t it? I just love how all those mediterranean goodies look mixed together. We’ve got some tomato, spinach, and artichoke action going on here, and this combination with the quinoa creates a seriously hearty side dish that can easily double as a main course. To keep this light I used fat-free feta instead of full, but feel free to use whichever you like. And if you’re not a feta person? Turn this into a caprese-style dish with some mozzarella instead.
Also – this would go really great with a tall glass of white wine. Have one in my honor, would ya?
Cheesy Greek-Style Baked Quinoa
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
- 2 1/2 cups Cooked Quinoa
- 1 1/4 cup Fat Free Feta Cheese
- 1/2 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella or Cheddar
- 1 cup Marinated Artichoke Hearts (in Oil)
- 1 cup Chopped Spinach
- 1 cup Diced Cherry Tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Skim Milk
- 1 tsp Crushed or Minced Garlic
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Parsley
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt & Coarse Black Peppercorn - approx.
- Prepare the quinoa as directed. While quinoa cooks, dice cherry tomatoes and chop spinach leaves, then set aside. Next, in food processor combine 1 cup feta, skim milk, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley, blending until smooth.
- When ready, stir artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and spinach into quinoa, plus 1 tbsp oil from artichokes, stirring well. Pour over with feta sauce, then season with onion powder and salt & pepper, combining thoroughly.
- Transfer mixture to oven safe casserole dish, spreading evenly. Top with remaining feta and mozzarella (or cheddar), then bake at 400F for 15 minutes until top has melted. Immediately plate and serve.
>> Prepare quinoa with chicken broth instead of water - it retains more flavor.
Calories: 167 Fat: 5g Carbohydrates: 17g Protein: 12g